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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 5 Hansard (10 May) . . Page.. 1618 ..


MS LEE (Kurrajong) (5.16): In the past few months I have taken the opportunity to acquaint myself with ACT schools. The schools I have visited have been wonderful examples of the wide choice parents have in schooling options. In recent weeks I have had the privilege of visiting Emmaus Christian School, Burgmann Anglican School, Merici College, Canberra Grammar School and Canberra Girls Grammar School. I continue to lament the fact that while I would be delighted to talk firsthand about my experiences in ACT government schools, to date I have not had that pleasure. By the next sitting I am hopeful that I will have had at least one government school visit.

My visit to Emmaus came shortly after the school had made headlines in local media for the significant improvements shown by students in successive NAPLAN testing. Principal Erik Hofsink is very supportive of the enormous data that NAPLAN provides and believes that teachers are able to use the data to address gaps in an individual student's learning.

Emmaus is like a TARDIS, tucked away as it is in a leafy suburban street in Dickson in my beautiful electorate of Kurrajong. Once on the campus, however, you see wonderful learning spaces, a commercial-grade kitchen, arts room, music room, library, great outdoor learning areas, ovals, smart classrooms and gymnasiums, and children everywhere beavering away at a task.

Mr Hofsink believes strongly in the role of parents in a child's education and says that schooling is not a fee-for-service thing but, rather, a partnership. Parents are expected to undertake a new parent induction course to understand the principles behind an Emmaus education, a high quality Christian education and a school committed to providing a balanced program of spiritual, emotional, physical and academic nurturing to all its students.

Burgmann Anglican School is another school that has grown beyond all expectations and now spans two campuses. Like many of our schools, Burgmann has significant traffic issues and there is enormous risk of an accident occurring during drop-off or pick-up times. They have an enrolment of 1,530 students across the two campuses, and principal Steven Bowers and operations manager Joel Anderson spent some time taking me around the various parts of the school highlighting the concerns they have with access.

It is fair to say—and I am sure it will come as no surprise to this government—that Gungahlin has grown up around them which, with the school's growing reputation for quality schooling, has led to a rapid growth in enrolments. I can only urge the government to consider the boundary adjustment they wish to make to the school, because it is a sensible solution to relieve a traffic congestion issue which is only going to become worse and more dangerous over time.

Principal Bowers's commitment to the wellbeing of his students and his popularity were clear, not only in the way his eyes lit up whenever he spoke about his students

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